Local Family to Appear at Adoption Awareness-Raising Event

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Children’s Book World in Haverford to host; proceeds will benefit two non-profits

“Everyone is unique, no matter what anybody says,” emphasizes Eden. “Being different is a good thing!”

November is National Adoption Month, a time to celebrate the many definitions of family. For the Friedman-Roths of Springfield, Penna., that definition means a family formed through international adoption. Their daughter, Eden, was adopted from China 11 years ago this past October.

When Eden was growing up, her parents—writer Darlene Friedman and well-known children’s book illustrator Roger Roth—recognized a dearth of books dealing with adoption within a school setting. And school, of course, is where children spend the majority of their time.

So Friedman, who serves as senior director of membership marketing with Soroptimist in Philadelphia, and Roth wrote and illustrated Star of the Week, A Story of Love, Adoption and Brownies with Sprinkles, recently released to positive reviews by HarperCollins Children’s Books. It tells the story of Cassidy-Li, a kindergartener about to become Star of the Week, an assignment at once exciting and anxiety producing for the young girl who was adopted as a baby from China.

“We wanted to introduce the idea of adoption—and in this case, international adoption—in a non-threatening way, and help make it okay for children who might feel different for any number of reasons,” states Friedman. “Our intent with the book is to start a healthy dialogue and cement the idea that what we share as humans is far greater than our differences.”

Now that their daughter is in middle school, the issues surrounding adoption and cultural differences have only grown more intense. “I told my parents I was going to get made fun of even more in middle school. The kids are older and think they can do more hurtful things because they aren’t as closely watched as we were in the elementary school,” states Eden.

“ A lot of times when my friend make Chinese jokes, I don’t think they even realize what they are saying,” she adds. “They don’t think I’d be offended, but I am. It’s like ‘HELLO! I’m Chinese!’ Usually I don’t show or tell them that the joke hurt me. I just suffer in silence.”

Eden, with her mom, decided to start a blog called “Eden’s Garden” as a way to reach out to growing girls and their moms. It seeks to continue the dialogue where the book leaves off.

“Eden is a very communicative young woman. Expressing her feelings through writing and feeling like she is helping others is cathartic for her,” Friedman explains. “She and I started our blog to give older girls a voice. We want to serve as a resource for the adoption community, but also as a place where any girl can go to chat about what’s on her mind—girlfriend problems, parent problems, school, clothes, her favorite books and movies. Whatever the girls have on their minds is fair game.”

Eden’s Garden is located at http://www.edens-garden.com.

The blog encourages independence and self-confidence, and celebrates the many differences that make people unique. It will also shed light on conditions for women and girls throughout the world—a subject important to Friedman and tied to her work with Soroptimist, an international women’s organization.

“Everyone is unique, no matter what anybody says,” emphasizes Eden. “Being different is a good thing!”

Eden will appear with her parents at Children’s Book World in Haverford, November 28, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., where they will sign books and discuss their experiences. In celebration of National Adoption Month, the store will donate 20 percent of sales for the day to the Delaware Valley Chapter of Families with Children from China, and Half the Sky—an organization that works to improve conditions in China’s orphanages.

For more information, contact Jessica Levinson at 215-893-9000, extension 129. Or, visit DarleneFriedman.com.

November 28, 2009
7 Haverford Station Rd.
Haverford, Penna. 19041


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Jessica Levinson
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